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SA Under 23 coach confident of seeing his charges past Young Warriors Saturday night
01/08/2015 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter

SOUTH AFRICA Under-23 mentor Owen Da Gama says he is looking beyond Zimbabwe after watching his side dismantle a visiting Rwanda national team 2-0 in a practice game at UJ Stadium on Tuesday night.

SA and Zimbabwe meet at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermariztburg on Saturday night in the second leg, final qualifier after the two teams drew 1-1 in the opening match at Rufaro two weeks back.

Kick-off is 815pm.

The Young Warriors, after a turbulent week where coach Kalisto Pasuwa quit on Tuesday only to return a day later in addition to the team boycotting training on Wednesday due to lack of food, left for South Africa on Friday morning.

Two first half goals by in-form Keagan Dolly and Siphiwe Khambule gave Da Gama’s team the win against Rwanda.

Dolly scored against the Young Warriors in Harare and was easily the most troublesome player on the field on that day.

“This was an almost perfect showing from the boys; they are gelling at the right time ahead of Saturday’s game and I am impressed by the all-round performance of most of the players.

“I am looking beyond Zimbabwe and the eight-nation tournament in Senegal. It has been a while since South Africa were last at the Olympics and I think this team has what it takes to go all the way.

They are showing hunger, purpose and determination to achieve something for the country and their careers,” he added.

“I don’t want to dwell on the Zimbabwe game at Rufaro; that was the first half, now we are heading into the final critical phase on Saturday and I am relishing the prospect of that game.”

Da Gama has also praised the Premier Soccer League for releasing all the players he needs for the second leg.

“I would like to thank the entire PSL set-up and in particular the clubs that released their players, the chairman of the league and our technical director, Neil Tovey, for ensuring we have all the material we need for the second leg,” said Da Gama.

Young Warriors striker Thomas Chideu, who has joined Ajax Cape Town in SA and will line up against his new teammate Aboubakar Mobara, is however confident.

“I was disappointed I didn’t play a major role in the first leg. Now I am back in the team and ready for the game. We have got the players who can deliver a good result for us.

We are going to South Africa with a winning mentality. We know we need to score goals because they scored an away goal. If they relax because they scored an away goal, we will pounce on them,” Chideu said.


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